This is an encore edition of Snohomish Then and Now, first published in July 2007, and the inscribed date on the Gilbert Horton photograph remains a mystery.
The print is mounted on cream-colored cardboard with the hand-written notation at the bottom, “Downtown Snohomish, 1882” and “At the Foot of Maple Avenue”. On the reverse is a stamped impression of elaborate typography that reads, “Palace Floating Gallery, Horton & Lewis, Proprietors, Puget Sound, Instantaneous Portraits and Landscapes.”
“In the spring of 1884 I built a boat at Tacoma which I called the Palace Floating Gallery,” related Horton to the Snohomish County Tribune on November 8, 1928.
Horton first came west in 1877. After a short stay, he returned to Michigan, and then returned to the Pacific Coast with the goal of establishing a floating photo gallery.
So, he could have captured the image in 1882 but didn’t get around to mounting it until all set up in his Floating Gallery, including equipped with a fancy stamp. However, since we are not sure who wrote the inscription, nor when, circumstantial evidence leads us to believe that the date is mistaken and that Horton captured this historic image around 1885.
Since all of “downtown Snohomish” at the time was built of wood, none of the structures pictured are still standing. We need to remember that nearly everything, as well as, everybody, arrived by the river in early Snohomish and that the riverside buildings were primary warehouses, built quickly to handle the ever-increasing supplies required to support the rapid growth of the young city.
In those busy times, it would have been impossible to imagine a leisurely walk on a sun-dappled path alongside the river, beneath the tall, gently swaying Cottonwoods, and that only peek-a-boo views of downtown Snohomish and the river would be available from the foot of Maple Avenue.
. . .